2019 Barfly Top Ten: Gus Ironside

Gus Ironside 2019TOP TEN ALBUMS

1 The Elevator Mood  - The Elevator Mood  
(Bandcamp)
2  Bag O’ Bones - The Reverse Cowgirls (Northern Cowboy)
3 Neon Primitives - Band of Holy Joy  (Tiny Global Productions)
4 Dark Times - Doctors of Madness (Cargo Records UK)
5 My War Is Your War - deux furieuses (Xtra Mile Recordings)
6 Heightened Senses - The Cathode Ray (Stereogram Recordings)
7 In Borrowed Shoes, On Borrowed Time - The Sweet Things  (Spaghetty Town Records)
8 More Guitars - Tom Rafferty (Bandcamp)
9 Address to the Nation - Chris Masuak & the Viveiro Wave Riders (I-94 Bar)
10 The Kidney Flowers - The Kidney Flowers (Bandcamp)

Gus Ironside is music editor for "Sogo" creative arts magazine and also contributes to "Louder Than War" (online and print), "Vive le Rock", "PennyBlackMusic" and "Is This Music?" He's based in Angus, Scotland.

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Peter "Rossy" Ross

rossy 2019 top tenOpen Season  - Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers
Firstly declaring an extreme bias and a conflict of interest with this one, Mick’s second offering from the Mesmerisers is even better than the last. The addition of ex-Tribesmen tub thumper Michael Charles has added muscularity to the band and they go from strength to strength. Some Sydney and Newcastle Birdman supports really won them some new fans. Brian Mann created a stunning sounding record. My fave album of the year. 


Address to the Nation - Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders
Again, another declaration as I’ve worked closely with Chris over the past thirty years. My second fave of the year… beaten by a short nose. Chris writes killer songs… plays guitar better than any player I have worked with and has a band so tight I couldn’t slide a fag paper between it. A great album, and it gave us a few wry smiles.

The Festival of Sue (X, New Christs et al) 
The shock of Sue Telfer’s passing pulled together a stellar line up talent who delivered on an emotional night. There were some killer performances but my top two were the New Christs, whose emotion tinged performance left no doubt that they are a top echelon act… but man of the match for mine was Steve Lucas and X. It was a blinding performance, Steve sang and played better than I have heard the band in years, Kim Volkman & Geof Holmes snarled and snorted like a beast. The Barman and Tiffany Palmer did a great job getting it all together, and we raised a great sum of cash for Support Act. I’d like to think Sue would’ve approved.

Jangle-pop near perfection that doesn't wear out its welcome

modern architectureModern Architecture EP - Danny McDonald (Popboomerang Records)

As the former Oscarlima and Jericho frontman, P76 leader and onetime member of Little Murders, Danny McDonald should need no introduction. But if you're curious about on of the most ybderrated purveyors of Aussie guitar pop and want a jumping-in point, his new EP is as good a place as any.

Danny plays guitar and writes pithy, Australian-tinged songs with depth and there are five crackers on "Modern architecture". They range from punky-pop to jangle-rama and are chockfull of melody and fire. McDonald has armed himself with a sterling engine room (Tim Mills on bass and David Klynjans on drums), a stellar vocal partner in Anna Burley (Killjoys) and an ace producer in Craig Pikington.

Double dose of pop with sax and sass

baby 8 splitLaughing Up a Storm - Baby 8 b/w Boys In Town - Penny Ikinger (Fantastic Mess Records)

This is a double A sided single from two of the best female-fronted/dominated and/or comprised outfits in Melbourne town. 

First to Baby 8 and “Laughing Up a Storm” which is brassy and bold, over-the-top pop. It’s immediately appealing with its rambunctious three-part harmonies with sax and trumpet parts kicking up a storm.  A lick of synth casts an oddness into the soundscape that befits this vengeance song. There’s a sharp lyrical turn that’s like the twist of a knife and Kat Karamitros sells the vocal like she means it. Wonderful. Don't cross her. 

The late Chrissy Amphlett was a mentor to Penny Ikinger and she brings plenty of conviction and feeling to her cover of Divynils’ “Boys in Town”. Three guitars give it more crunch than the radio-friendly original single, with Penny’s guitar howl leaking through the more conventional attack of Julian Heid and Sam Billinghurst-Walsh. Not content to sound just like the original, Penny and Co have bent the song out of shape, just so. 

It’s the usual Fantastic Mess run of other clear-spattered or ruby red vinyl in a limited pressing. Grab it here

martiniratingmartiniratingmartiniratingmartinirating1/2 - both

 

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Bob Blunt

bob blunt 2019You want me to write a year in reflection? Well, where and how to start? I will bang on these keys and most likely bang on in my usual stoic warm way.

Mind you, I rarely write about music these days. I look back and reflect on the shit I once wrote and it seems all so naïve, sycophantic almost. But here’s a try and since it’s not the 10 best gigs, nor the 10 best recordings, I have license to mix it up.

Best thing that happened – helping out with the band bookings at MoshPit, a small unpretentious little bar down the south end of King St which now fits 120 people. Yes, it’s small, and don’t go there if you feel paranoid or claustrophobic as you’ll probably hate it. But, in the vein of CBGB’s in NYC, Frenches which was on Oxford Street (Darlinghurst) the Old Bar in Melbourne, and its local counterpart Midnight Special in Enmore, this place oozes fun.

Where else can you put on your favourite bands and liken it to your best ever lounge-room party. There’s a whole range of yummy booze, great staff, the co-owners Pat n Wax, + two sound people who know what they’re doing within limitations. Nunchukka Superfly, Thee Evil Twin, Face Command, White Knuckle Fever and Los Monaros are just some of the great local acts that graced there in 2019. We was lucky and their goodwill was priceless. Sydney needs venues like these so in my unbiased best, please support.

Best things I listened to – newish stuff from Pallet, Small Town Incident, White Knuckle Fever, Sounds Like Winter, Syntax Error, Joseph Leonard, Wreckless Enterprise Recordings volume 1 and 2 – compilations featuring Dirty Slutz, Babymachine, Leftards, Minor Surgery, Space Bozzies, Bitchcraft, Piss to Eme.

Tie yourself in Knots

knots epAction; 1980 Three Tracks - The Knots (Rave-Up)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, Joey Pinter, he is like an angrier, tough as leather, hard as nails, punk rock Billy Gibbons. Or if Johnny Thunders was still alive and vital and never lost his mojo. Roughly, he's the American equivalent to Spencer P. Jones-in that he is also a formidable and prolific singer/songwriter in his own right, who is best known for having played soulful, emotionally charged, white lightning guitar in beloved cult bands.

I first discovered Pinter's legendary American punk gangs, the Waldos and the Knots, back when I was 20-years-old and pin-balling back and forth between Boston, Hollywood, and New York City. I was a pencil thin scarecrow, would-be vocalist, back then, trying to forge my own dangerous glam rock band ala Smack, Hanoi Rocks, and Dogs D'Amour, but I never had the money or social skills, to keep a band together for long.

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Ronny Van Dyk

ronny van dyk 2019Random top 10 bands to see live according to how much I enjoyed them in the tiny backroom bars I’ve been hanging in all year. There were so many, but these spring to mind:

The Lenores
Year 6 Disco
Space Boys
Froth Dogs
Minor Surgery
Flangipanis
Bitchcraft
Sounds like winter
Legal Aliens
Lights Out Holy Roller

Special mention Australis Über Alles.

Ronny Van Dyk plays guitar in Wollongong's BotBots and was vocalist for punks The Leftards (RIP). He runs the Wreckless Enterprises record label and booking agency.

2019 Barfly Top Ten: Adam Yee from Smudge

adam with david huck shawTOP TEN ALBUMS

Broads - "Stay Connected"

Loved everything they’ve done, and this ain’t any different. Songs, arrangements, voices.

Julia Jacklin - "Crushing"
Wow. This was awkward and difficult to listen to in a good way. So personal; beautifully, simple observations of life. Could be the best of 2019 for me.

Paranoyds - "Carnage Bargain"
New wave 60’s garage pop (?) outta LA. Brilliant.

Levitation Room - "Headspace"
I listened to this on repeat for about three hours and had to make myself switch it off.

Shifting Sands - "Crystal Cuts"
Almost a drop dead gimme that this was going to be superb after "Beach Coma".

Shelley’s Murder Boys - "Above Is A Roar"
Bluegrass from the Inner West. I just love how kinda ‘not perfect’ they are, just as bluegrass should be. Always great to see live.

Chelsea Wolfe - "Birth Of Violence"
She is the Dark Lord.


Adam Yee (right) with Stms drummer David Huck-Shaw.

What Brian Henry Hooper knew

what would i knowWhat Would I Know? - Brian Henry Hooper (Bang! Records)

Brian Henry Hooper was a remarkable man. I first encountered him when he was part of Kim Salmon's band, The Surrealists. I had no idea what to expect, and the huge shattering sound, the big horror-show songs, and Kim's howls backed by two droogies from an abbattoir ... my mouth was flat on the floor. Magnificent.

It was many years later that I met Brian for the first time, more or less by accident at a different gig, when I used a rather unpleasant local term which Brian immediately picked up on - "That's a real Adelaide term, isn't it?" Brian was always interested in the world around him - I recall him also relating how beautiful Adelaide was as the aircraft came in to land ... come in the right way to land, I suppose, and even ...no, that's not right. I knew what he meant, the place can be damned pretty.

No, really. Brian liked Adelaide.

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